JOSHUA - CHAPTER 5
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000 James Melough
5:1. "And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites,
which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which
were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan from before
the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither
was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel."
crossed the Jordan, the Israelites must now begin to take possession of the land
given them by God's promise; and as noted already, this pictures the position of the
believer who would enjoy all that is made available to him through Christ's death and
being said that, "their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any
more," reminds us that the evil spiritual forces opposing our taking possession
of the riches that are ours in Christ, are already defeated, Christ having vanquished
them by His death at Calvary. The
Canaanites' security had lain in the "Jordan (which) overfloweth all his banks
all the time of harvest" (3:15); and they had just seen God sweep their defense
away by dividing that flood, so that His redeemed people could cross over on dry
ground. But we have seen that miracle to
be a type of the Lord's defeat of Satan through the destruction of his ultimate
weapon, death, represented by the Jordan. As
the Israelites were assigned the task of exterminating an already defeated foe, so
are we assigned a similar task. The foe
has been defeated already by Christ's entering into the waters of death, and rising
out of them again, thus manifesting His power over them.
We are to "exterminate" (put out of our lives) all that the
Canaanites represent: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
Amorite meaning a sayer represents false profession, and his being in Canaan,
symbolic of the sphere into which faith brings the believer, warns us that there are
amongst God's people today those who also profess to be His, though they have never
been born again. All such are the enemy
of Christ and of those who belong to Him. Elders
need to exercise great care relative to the reception of those seeking fellowship in
the local assembly over which God has set them as shepherds.
A very necessary part of the elders' work is to guard against the intrusion of
Satan's wolves and tares amongst God's sheep and wheat.
Carelessness in this has wrought havoc in the professing church, so much so
that in many a local church there are more spiritual "Amorites" than
enemy is described as being "on the side of Jordan westward."
As discussed already, the west in Scripture represents approach to God, and
significantly it is westward that Israel must go if she would take possession of her
God-given inheritance, but the presence of the enemy west of Jordan continues to
remind us that the lesson God would have us learn is that the foe is in our midst: it
is not only the world and the devil outside, it is the old nature still within each
one of us. The lesson of the Amorite
therefore comes closer to home. Does the
flesh so control me that my Christian life is mostly talk, but without the
confirmation of the good works that should accompany salvation?
Questions we might well ask ourselves are, Have I read, studied, and meditated
on God's Word today? How much time have
I spent before God in earnest prayer today? What witness have I borne for Christ? What have I done to spread the Gospel? Have I even given someone a tract? Have I ministered in any way to another believer today?
Have I earnestly prayed by name for those who serve God as evangelists,
elders, and teachers; by name for believers who are sick, old, unemployed, bereaved,
lonely; by name for young believers, that God will provide them with suitable
marriage partners if it is His will for them to marry?
answers to these questions may indicate that the "Amorite" is still in
control of large areas of my life, in spite of God's command to exterminate him.
It is painfully obvious in fact that the professing church has left the foe in
undisputed possession of "Canaan," with the result that we are not only
impoverished spiritually, but that we are living under the dominion of the enemy.
If this is true of us, our guilt is compounded by reason of the fact that we
are following in Israel's rebellious footsteps, in spite of having the record of her
folly to warn us against such madness.
second foe mentioned in this verse is the Canaanite, it being necessary to note that
while Canaanite was the general name for all the tribes of the land, there seems to
have been a particular tribe to which that name belonged. It means a trafficker in the bad sense of the word, i.e.,
one engaged in illicit trading; and in the light of what we have just been
considering, the lesson of the Canaanite is easily read.
He represents those professing to be believers, but who are in fact mere
"traffickers," trading in spiritual things for temporal gain.
Christendom is full of them. Wherever you have the evangelist, the elder, the
teacher, ministering merely for money, seeking temporal gain, glory, advancement,
etc., you have the equivalent of the Canaanite.
question we should each ask ourselves, and answer honestly before God, is, What is
the true motive impelling whatever service I may be rendering?
If it isn't love for the Lord, and for men and women, then I am a Canaanite, a
mere trafficker in spiritual things. Remember,
the Canaanites were in Canaan, the land that represents the sphere of faith.
These Canaanites represent the enemy inside the professing church.
Each Canaanite tribe represents a characteristic of the flesh in the believer,
in me. What is written in this book is not merely to furnish historical
information: it is to instruct us relative to our spiritual warfare with the forces
which were by the sea" has also its lesson.
The sea is the Scriptural symbol of earth's unconverted masses in their
restless rebellion against God, see Isa 57:20, "The wicked (unconverted) are
like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt."
The Canaanites "by the sea" therefore portray professed believers in
relation to the unconverted, and the warning is that there can be
"trafficking" even in what purports to be evangelism.
The television and radio "evangelists" continually appealing for
money, are not the only "Canaanites by the sea," however: the
"trafficking" may be more subtle. My
evangelistic work may be prompted more
by a secret desire for the approval of men than for the salvation of souls and the
glory of God.
their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the
children of Israel," presents us with the antidote for the evil portrayed by the
spiritual Amorite and Canaanite. The
manifestation of God's power put forth on behalf of His people was what had induced
the fear in the heart of the foe. But
what had led God to exercise His power on behalf of Israel?
Obedience! They had obeyed Him,
and the result was that He blessed them. It
was the same in the early days of the Apostolic church. Read again the blessed
results of that obedience in the early chapters of Acts, and then look at the results
relative to the unconverted: "And of the rest durst no man join himself to
them" (Ac 5:13). Those early
believers walked in the fear of the Lord, and maintained His enjoined separation
between themselves and the unconverted. It
is very different today. The professing
church has become a religious social club for the entertainment of saint and sinner
alike. The unconverted are not only
unafraid to intrude: they are warmly welcomed, and are happy to be there, so that
believer and unbeliever, Israelite and Canaanite, walk together in spite of what is
written in God's Word, "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?"
(Amos 3:3), and "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what
fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light
with darkness? And what concord hath
Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of
the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will
be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the
Lord...." (2 Co 6:14-18).
foe won't fear us and flee before us until we fear God, and manifest that reverential
fear by walking in obedience before Him.
5:2. "At that time the Lord said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp
knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time."
second time" refers, not to a second circumcision, but to the fact that the
generation that had grown up in the wilderness hadn't been circumcised. The necessity
for the circumcision of that second generation is apparent when we remember that this
physical cutting off of the flesh represents the cutting off of the activity of the
old nature still in the believer. That
activity is always sinful, and since sin separates us from God's blessing, and makes
us instead the recipients of chastisement, the need of this outward symbol of inward
obedience is apparent.
5:3. "And Joshua made him sharp knives, and circumcised the
children of Israel at the hill of the foreskins."
5:4. "And this is the cause why Joshua did circumcise: All the
people that came out of Egypt, that were males, even all the men of war, died in the
wilderness by the way, after they came out of Egypt."
5:5. "Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all
the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of
Egypt, them they had not circumcised."
5:6. "For the children of Israel walked forty years in the
wilderness, till all the people that were men of war, which came out of Egypt, were
consumed, because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord: unto whom the Lord sware
that he would not shew them the land, which the Lord sware unto their fathers that he
would give us, a land that floweth with milk and honey."
5:7. "And their children, whom he raised up in their stead, them
Joshua circumcised: for they were uncircumcised, because they had not circumcised
them by the way."
they were newly arrived in the land of an enemy who might be expected to attack at
any moment, obedience to this command was humanly speaking, folly; but to the
spiritual mind it is folly to disobey God. Physical
circumcision, apart from a changed heart, has no value in God's sight, as is made
clear in such Scriptures as Ro 2:28-29, "For he is not a Jew which is one
outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a
Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not
in the letter."
Israel could overcome any foe, and possess any part of Canaan, there must be
submission to the rite that was meant to be the outward sign of an obedient heart.
The pain associated with physical circumcision reminds us that the cutting off
of the deeds of the old nature may be equally painful. An obedient walk sometimes
requires that things very dear to us must
be "cut off" from our lives.
circumcision apart from an obedient heart, was worthless, is revealed in verses 4-6.
In spite of their having been circumcised, that first generation that came out
of Egypt, died in the wilderness because they lacked the faith to enter Canaan at
God's command. That faithless
disobedient generation represents both the old nature, and the religious, but
unconverted professor, "... having a form of godliness, but denying the power
thereof" (2 Tim 3:5). Such was the
Israel to which Christ came two thousand years ago.
This principle: the rejection of the first, and the blessing of the second,
Heb 10:9, pervades Scripture, and declares the necessity of a new birth.
The first represents what man is by natural birth - he is flesh, of which it
is written, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Co
15:50), because "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is
born of the Spirit is spirit.... Ye must be born again" (Jn 3:6-7).
practical lesson is that mere conformity to an outward ordinance means nothing unless
the heart is right with God. The Jew,
circumcised, and punctilious in his outward observance of the law, was nevertheless
rejected because in heart he was estranged from God.
Christians too may be careful with regard to baptism and the Lord's supper
(the two ordinances given to the Church), and yet in heart be very far from God.
circumcision of that second generation represents a truth that relates to every
believer. Their crossing Jordan, whose
waters God had miraculously divided, is the symbolic declaration of the truth that
the believer has died vicariously in Christ, as it is written, "And ye are
complete in Him ... in whom also ye are circumcised (cut off) with the circumcision
made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the
circumcision (cutting off) of Christ, (that is, His death): buried with Him in
baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him...." (Col 2:10-12).
has been noted already, however, it is in the crossing of the Red Sea that our dying
is symbolically emphasized; and in the crossing of the Jordan, while there is still
the figure of death, the emphasis is upon our association with Christ in
resurrection. "If ye then be risen
with Christ (and resurrection implies that we had died), seek those things which are
above.... Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead (have died), and your life is hid with Christ in God....
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth"
3:1-5). The circumcision of Israel at
Gilgal is the typical illustration of this truth.
The practical lesson of their being circumcised is that if there is to be
victory there must be the cutting off of the deeds of the flesh.
Sin, which is disobedience, and victory in the Christian warfare, cannot
coexist. The disobedient spiritual
Israelite (the believer) can no more enjoy spiritual blessings, than could the
disobedient literal Israelite, who in spite of being circumcised, never tasted
Canaan's milk and honey.
generation that died in the wilderness had been circumcised, but they never entered
Canaan; and had failed to circumcise the children who had grown up in the wilderness,
a fact which reminds us that it is possible for us to grow careless in keeping the
flesh where it belongs - in the place of death - so that we gradually become,
outwardly at least, just like the unsaved around us. But a further truth is also declared in their negligence.
That first generation, like all Biblical firsts, represents the flesh, what we
are by natural birth, hence the lesson being taught symbolically in their not
entering Canaan: the flesh has no part in spiritual things, no place in the sphere
represented by Canaan. But their being
representative of the flesh explains the spiritual significance of their failure to
circumcise their children: the flesh will never cut off the deeds of the flesh.
5:8. "And it came to pass, when they had done circumcising all the
people, that they abode in their places in camp, till they were whole."
obedience in submitting to being circumcised is indicative of a very high degree of
faith, for as noted already, they had just entered a Canaan filled with their
enemies; and their being circumcised rendered them incapable of defending themselves
against those foes. Their obedience, in
fact declared not only the "cutting off" of all confidence in themselves,
but of their having an implicit confidence in God.
This is the OT foreshadowing of Php 3:3, God's ideal for every believer,
"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in
Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
justification of their confidence is seen in that "They abode in their places in
the camp, till they were whole," and the God in Whom they had demonstrated their
trust, honored that confidence by preserving them from attack.
This is the demonstration of the principle annunciated in the promise of Ex
34:24, "For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders:
neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the
Lord they God thrice in the year." We
lose nothing, and gain what is priceless, God's approval, when we honor Him with our
obedience, putting Him first in all things.
5:9. "And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away
the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore
the name of the place is called Gilgal rolling: a wheel unto this day."
"The reproach of
Egypt" is understood by most commentators to refer to the fact that their former
state had been one of bondage, as was ours before faith in Christ brought
deliverance. Since circumcision
represents the cutting off of the deeds of the flesh, its being described also as the
"rolling away of the reproach of Egypt" - that reproach being their former
bondage - reminds us that the deeds of the flesh are associated with our unconverted
state, and should have no part in our lives as new creatures in Christ.
fact that the place had been called Gilgal long before this, is the assurance that
foreknowledge is one of God's attributes, for obviously He had caused it to be so
named in anticipation of that day when it became invested with a completely new
significance. But since Gilgal is a
figure of Calvary the greater truth being presented is that He had Calvary in mind
long before the world was formed.
night spent by Israel in Egypt between the slaying of the passover lamb, and their
going out the next morning, is analogous to our earthly experience as to our bodies;
their years in the desert are typical of our earthly experience as to our souls; and
their experiences in Canaan are the counterpart of our earthly experience as to our
spirits. The lesson therefore of the
failure of that first circumcised generation to leave the desert and enter Canaan, is
that we may fail to progress beyond what is represented by their desert experience.
We fail to rise above an experience that relates to our bodies and souls, into
one that affects our spirits. We fail to
live according to what is true of us in the reckoning of God, namely, that in Christ
we have been "cut off" from our former bondage, and are now free, as risen
with Christ, to enter into the enjoyment of the spiritual riches that are ours in
circumcision of that first generation represents our spiritual position according to
God's reckoning; but we are called upon to make good in our
experience what is true of us according to that reckoning.
The circumcision of the second generation at Gilgal represents the experience
of those believers who do make good in practice what is true of them by divine
reckoning: they live as those who are "dead (cut off) indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Ro 6:11).
command to "circumcise again the children of Israel the second time, Jos 5:2,
that is, to circumcise that second generation, is the symbolic announcement of the
truth that without the cutting off of the deeds of the flesh the believer cannot
enter into the enjoyment of the spiritual riches made available to him through
Christ's death. It is one thing to be "dead unto sin" in the reckoning of
God, but quite another thing to make that reckoning true in our lives.
It is one thing to be "alive unto God" in the reckoning of God, but
a very different thing to live according to that truth.
The life of many a believer demonstrates that he is "dead," his life
consisting of nothing more than a negative abstention from sin. But there is more to Christianity than just refraining from evil:
there is the positive living unto God. We
are to demonstrate not only that we are "dead" to our former state, but
also that we are "alive" spiritually as a new creation.
The circumcision of the first generation emphasizes the former; that of the
second generation, the latter. As those
who are "alive unto God," we gladly "cut off" the deeds of the
flesh so that we may produce righteousness. It
isn't just by abstention from sin, but by the production of righteousness that we
demonstrate that we are alive unto God.
second generation, circumcised at Gilgal, and now in Canaan, represents those, who
"dead to sin, but alive unto God," enter into the enjoyment here on earth
of those spiritual riches which they will enjoy in even fuller measure in heaven.
They, as circumcised men going in to take possession of their inheritance in
Canaan, represent those who live according to the truth of Col 3:1-5, "If ye
then be risen with Christ, seek those thing which are above ... set your minds on
things above, not on the things that are upon the earth ... your life is hid with
Christ in God.... Mortify (put to death, cut off) therefore, your members which are
upon the earth."
believer's state, according to God's reckoning, is represented by the crossing of
Jordan; but his giving practical expression to that state is represented by the
circumcision of each man at Gilgal. Scroggie
is worth quoting in this connection, "Become what you are .... We should die
because we are dead; we should live because we are alive; we should conquer because
we have won.... What we should recognize is the fact, and that recognition will lead
us to act," Joshua in the Light of the New Testament, p.24.
5:10. "And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the
passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho."
only were they circumcised at Gilgal, they also kept the passover there. Consistent
with the spiritual significance of their crossing Jordan, and being circumcised in
preparation for taking possession of their inheritance, this passover was in many
respects different from the one kept forty years before in Egypt.
There, it was in anticipation of deliverance from bondage; here, it is in
commemoration of that deliverance; but more, it is in anticipation of an inheritance
to be received and enjoyed. The Lord's
supper is the fulfillment of the type, for it combines both thoughts.
In it we celebrate our deliverance from spiritual bondage, and we anticipate
the Lord's return, which will usher us into the full enjoyment of our heavenly
inheritance. In the passover in Egypt
the emphasis was upon judgment and death; but in the passover at Gilgal the emphasis
is upon resurrection. We must die to the
old life before we can enjoy the new.
have noted that the other name of Jericho is "city of palm trees," this
latter meaning speaking of righteousness. The
practical lesson of their eating the passover there is that righteousness is required
of all who would keep that feast in a proper spirit, for to eat it with sin
unconfessed, repented of and forsaken, is to engage in a mere religious ritual which
is an abomination to God.
5:11. "And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow
after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day."
roast lamb eaten during Israel's last night in Egypt; the manna eaten during the
forty years in the desert; and the old corn of Canaan eaten in the land, all portray
Christ as our spiritual food presented in the written Word, but from different
roast lamb represents Him as the One Who supplies the power needed to honor God amid
all the circumstances of daily living - doing our earthly jobs to His glory;
fulfilling our responsibilities to our families; obeying those appointed to make and
enforce the laws governing our society, and everything else that pertains to our
lives as men, who though citizens of heaven, must live for a little while here on
earth. Briefly, it is Christ for our
manna represents Him as the One Who supplies the power needed to honor God in a world
that for us has become a spiritual desert. It
is only as we nourish ourselves on the written Word, which is the revelation of Him
Who is the living Word, that we find the power to resist the lure of the world's
wealth, fame, ease, and pleasure, etc. It
is only as strengthened by that "manna" that we can pursue our journey
through this world as pilgrims and strangers hurrying through the enemy's land on our
way home. The manna represents Christ
meeting the need of our souls.
the corn of Canaan represents a higher apprehension of Christ.
It represents Him as the One Who nourishes our spirits. As we progress beyond knowing Him as the sufficiency for the needs
of the body and soul, we learn that He is also the Power Who imparts the spiritual
vigor that enables us to "mount up with wings as eagles" so that in His
strength we can route the enemy, take possession of "Canaan," and enjoy our
inheritance even here on earth.
Israel, these were three separate experiences; but for us, Christ is "Lamb,
Manna, and Corn" all at the same time, because as to our bodies we are in Egypt,
as to our souls we are in the Wilderness, and as to our spirits we are in Canaan, all
at the same time. The needs of the body,
soul, and spirit are contemporaneous, and Christ presented in the written Word is the
spiritual Food for all three.
5:12. "And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of
the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they
did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year."
this we learn that there is to be spiritual development.
We are to "Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ" (2 Pe 3:18). Spiritual
"milk" has a place in the life of each believer, as the roast lamb and the
manna had a place in the lives of the Israelites; but the corn of Canaan was their
permanent food. As long as we are on
earth we will never outgrow the need of the Word as it relates to the body and soul;
but God's ideal is that we progress quickly to the point where this use of it becomes
subservient to its use as the "Corn of Canaan," i.e., where our
comprehension of its literal and practical worth is transcended by our appreciation
of its spiritual value. The almost
universal ignorance of Biblical typology is the sad proof that only a relative few
know anything of the Word as the "old corn of the land."
Sadder still is the fact that many professed believers deny the legitimacy of
such a method of study, and accuse those who have learned its worth, of engaging in
flights of fancy. Refusal to recognize
its value, however, doesn't diminish its worth, but rather robs that believer of the
equivalent of Canaan's riches, and contributes to his own continuing spiritual
very fact that "the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old
corn of the land," and that the fruit of Canaan then became their regular food,
simply confirms that once a believer has tasted the written Word as portrayed by the
fruit of Canaan, he will find it abundantly sufficient not only for the needs of his
body and soul, but also for his spirit.
practical lesson to be learned from these first experiences in Canaan has to do with
God's order for our lives. As we have
noted, baptism is the NT counterpart of circumcision.
A believer's first act of obedience should be to submit to being baptized.
being circumcised they ate the passover which we have seen to be the OT type of the
Lord's supper. Many professing
Christians are willing, are indeed eager, to eat that supper, but they are not
willing to be baptized, claiming that their having been baptized as infants is
sufficient, and failing to understand that Scripture knows nothing of infant baptism.
It is for believers only, and is the first ordinance to which the believer is
to submit following his conversion. Believer's
baptism (the only one God recognizes) is as much a divine ordinance as is the Lord's
supper (these are in fact the only two ordinances given to the Church), and the
divine order is that baptism comes first. Since
those seeking fellowship in the local church are for the most part ignorant of
Scriptural order, it is the responsibility of the elders, not only to make known that
order, but to require obedience. It is
not to be left to the discretion of the novice believer to pick and choose what part
of God's order he will accept and what he will reject.
eating the passover they "ate the old corn of the land."
Not till then did "the captain of the host of the Lord (Christ
Himself)" appear to lead them in the warfare that would employ them for seven
years (representative of the whole of the believer's life).
The truth being taught here is that he who would go forth to serve must
fulfill four conditions: (1) he must not be indulging in sin, that being the truth
portrayed by circumcision, (2) he must manifest personal obedience in regard to God's
order, which was first circumcision (the putting off of the deeds of the flesh), then
the keeping of the passover (the weekly remembrance of the Lord's death in the eating
of the Lord's Supper), (3) he must be fed with the Word, portrayed in their eating
the old corn of the land, and (4) he must have Christ always before him as Captain,
portrayed in the one who appeared to Joshua as "captain of the host of the
is instructive that God has appointed the first day of the week as the one on which
the Lord's supper is to be eaten, see Ac 20:7; Lk 24:30; Le 24:8.
God's order is that baptized believers (and only such) come in on the first
day of each week to eat the Lord's supper, and only then do they go out to serve, and
he who having learned that order, refuses to obey, makes worthless whatever service
he may think he is rendering.
5:13. "And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he
lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with
his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou
for us, or for our adversaries?"
5:14. "And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am
I now come. And Joshua fell on his face
to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his
was a theophany. The "man" was
the Lord Jesus Christ appearing in human form.
irreverence that characterizes so much of professing Christendom is rebuked by
Joshua's attitude. When we pray we
should remember that the one to Whom we speak is the God in whose presence the angels
bow; and when we read the Bible we should remember that the One speaking to us from
its pages is that same almighty God. When
we sit at the Lord's table we should remember that though invisible to human eyes, He
Who presides there is the Lord Jesus Christ; and likewise, when we speak of Him, it
should be with reverence. In fact, we
should never forget that we are his ambassadors, and should conduct ourselves with
the dignity becoming those privileged to enjoy such honor.
Joshua's question also reminds us that perfect obedience is the only proper
response of the creature to the Creator.
5:15. "And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose
thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy.
And Joshua did so."
The significance of the loosed
shoe will be better understood when we remember that as that which separates the foot
from the ground, the shoe speaks of the separation that is to be maintained between
the believer and this evil world through which we pass as pilgrims and strangers on
our way home to heaven. Where the Lord is, however, there can be no evil, for evil can't
exist in His presence. The removal of
the shoe therefore is the symbolic acknowledgment of that fact.
The emblem of separation isn't needed on such ground, so it is to be removed.
question has been asked, Since Joshua represents Christ in resurrection as Captain of
our salvation leading us into the enjoyment of our spiritual blessings here on earth,
who or what is represented by this angelic captain? Having found no explanation
better than that given by the late F.W. Grant, I quote, "If Joshua already
speaks of Christ in us, it may seem strange that we should have Another introduced
here, higher than Joshua, and the real leader of the people.... Here if Joshua
represent Christ in us, it may be necessary, because of our readiness to mistake, to
guard this by showing us another Christ external to us to Whom ... the Christ within
us yields the first place.... We are prone to go astray, and need the warning
emphasized that there is a Voice external to us altogether, to which before all we
must be in subjection. Christ is
everywhere the same, and His Voice, wherever heard, must be of equal authority; but
just on that very account, what is of Christ in us will conform itself to, and own,
the authority of the Christ without (outside) us, speaking by His Spirit through His
Word," Numerical Bible - Joshua, p.46.